Friday, March 13, 2015

Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson

I just love the Hilda stories. That doesn't keep me from taking forever to read them. I am a little embarrassed to admit how long I had this one out from the library. So I'm not going to say.

The stories are never what you expect and I'm always surprised, amazed, and in love all over again.

Hilda still misses the wild hills but she's cautiously excited when her mother encourages her to join the Sparrow Scouts. But things are quickly complicated by the appearance of a Nisse, a house spirit, and Hilda's inability to stop helping him despite the catastrophes that follow in his wake. Then there's her mother's eagerness to see her do well at Scouts and Hilda's nagging misery that everyone but her is getting badges. What's even worse, is that there's a dangerous black hound on the loose - is it something supernatural or just her imagination?

Pearson's art, as Hilda has moved from the wild moors to the town, has become appropriately more focused on the people she now interacts with and the tighter, more civilized environs of the town, rather than the more abstract landscapes of the hills and mountains. Hilda's emotions have become more complex as well and that's reflected in her facial expressions and those of the kids and adults she tries to relate to. Of course, there are also a lot of Nisses with full-facial hair in this story, so not so much expression there. It's a magical blend of cute and mysterious that never fails to delight.

Verdict: I keep thinking that these are so different kids won't be interested in them, but I'm proved wrong again and again. If your library doesn't own any, try the first volume and see what happens!

ISBN: 9781909263185; Published 2014 by Nobrow/Flying Eye; Purchased for the library

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